Monday, February 20, 2017

Words Their Way

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count,” the quote read. “It’s the life in your years.” It was attributed to Abraham Lincoln, by members of his own party. Inspirational? Sure. Lincoln? Not so much. Al Gore's Internet and the folks at Google would have you believe that this is the case, but a little further investigation makes things a little murkier. This aphorism was probably first written for a book on aging written in 1947 by Doctor Edward J. Stieglitz. It was not immediately clear what Doctor Stieglitz's party affiliation was, but since he was born some thirty years after Abraham Lincoln died, it is not likely that he passed this wisdom to him personally. 
So what? 
Well, let's start by looking back just a few months instead of a few years, to the Republican National Convention. The "President's" wife gave a speech at that time that lifted large pieces of Michelle Obama's speech for her husband in 2008. There was a lot of fuss made at the time, but after much denial, there may have been a little crilbbing and a definite lack of footnotes. No one was fired for this little bit of plagiarism. This should have been our first solid hint about alternative facts. 
In Bizarro World, if you need words, you simply borrow them. Don't worry about from whence they came. Let the chips fall where they may. Buffalo or otherwise. 
This might also be why the Department of Education, in their first public display since bringing new head Betty Devos was to misspell the name of civil rights leader and co-founder of the NAACP William E.B. Du Bois incorrectly. Again, not exactly a shock, and even though it appeared in a Tweet it still managed to continue a trend of shooting first and going to spellcheck later. 
This trend seems to value words more than ideas. The sound more than the quality of that sound. By keeping a constant barrage of words churning out there, perhaps they hope that they might eventually land on a good idea to match up with all that verbiage. 
Suddenly I am imagining a room full of chimpanzees banging away at their IBM Selectrics in hopes of generating the works Shakespeare. Or one orangutan with a smart phone. 

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